California: Gerawan responds to UFW statement, misconduct allegations
Fresno-based grower Gerawan Farming, whose workers are in the midst of a heated campaign aiming to decertify union affiliation, says United Farm Workers (UFW) has never made enquiries on behalf of its employees.
After the UFW and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) gave statements to www.freshfruitportal.com alleging the company was avoiding back pay to workers and objections to the decertification vote count due to misconduct claims, Gerawan highlighted its simple stance to 'let the employees decide'.
"What the UFW is concealing in its statement is that the [August 26] demonstration consisted of more than 1000 farm workers who are outraged that their votes to decertify the UFW have not been counted by the ALRB," A Gerawan spokesperson said in a statement.
"These employees have been protesting and demonstrating against the ALRB and the UFW for nearly a year - long before the Center for Worker Freedom noticed their plight.
"The rally was conducted by Gerawan employees completely independent of Gerawan Farming. Gerawan Farming is not part of the Center for Worker Freedom campaign."
The spokesperson emphasized the fact its employees' history of earning the industry's highest wages predated the UFW's sudden return after a near 20-year absence.
"The employees have made it clear that they do not want to give 3% of their wages to a union that abandons workers.
"We said from the beginning that we want what our employees want, which is to have their ballots counted. It is unfortunate that our employees need to take such a drastic action to have their voices heard.
"Either the ALRB board itself or Governor Brown need to step in to stop the General Counsel and her staff from blocking the rights of these Latino workers who simply want the ability to choose who speaks for them."
The spokesperson said Gerawan had not been found guilty of an unfair labor practice in that entire 20-year period.
"In fact, during all that time, neither the UFW nor ALRB filed any unfair labor practices charges, UFW never took access in our fields, and UFW made no inquiries on behalf of our employees.
"UFW returned to tell the industry’s highest paid employees that they will have to pay 3% of their wages to the union or be fired.
"UFW's and ALRB's new allegations are merely another ploy in a series of attempts to prevent the employees from having a choice."
Additionally, the company has emphasized that 98% of its employees never voted for the UFW and Gerawan has never refused to implement a contract.